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Music

David Crosby’s five favourite albums of all time

There aren’t many figures in the world of rock and roll as divisive as David Crosby. The artist, a former member of The Byrds and Crosby Stills, Nash and Young, has long been heralded as one of the most outspoken rockers around. Garnering applause and anger in equal measure, Crosby continues to be a polarising man in the modern era, traversing his image as a folk-rock hero to become a social media marvel and a consummate musician.

With such an unstoppable and voracious take on all things musical, the need to ask Crosby’s opinion on any hot topic in our sonic world is generally a redundant task. Normally, he is happy to offer up such opinions without so much as a second’s hesitation. But what are the singer-songwriter’s favourite albums of all time? Below, we’ve got the answer for you.

“My current music collection has probably more singer-songwriters than anything else,” Crosby told SPIN when speaking about his newer musical tastes. “But there’s a lot of jazz, a lot of folk music, and a lot of world music, and a lot of classical.” Given Crosby’s distaste for conformity, the singer naturally has a dislike for any boundaries. “I resist the idea of genres and labels as being really significant,” the singer continued. “I don’t think they are. Trying to say it’s this kind of rock or this particular flavour, is really deceptive. I think it’s just people trying to label things, so they don’t have to think about it. It gives them a tag, something they can label. It’s generally, I think, more that they don’t think about it.”

However, when given a chance to assign a few labels of his own, picking out the five albums he couldn’t live without, Crosby was a little more enthusiastic. Below, we have the icon’s list of albums as well as a perfect playlist to accompany your listening adventure.

His first two picks come from the same band; Steely Dan, a group so indefinable in their sound that they have often skirted under the radar of even the most avid music lover. Picking out perhaps their two most beloved records Aja and Gaucho, Crosby effuses about the former, “Stunning writing. Stunning production, stunning singing, outstanding playing, but songs. Unbelievable goddamn songs. It’s too good. They’re all fantastic.” But perhaps saved his most authoritative stamp of approval for *Gaucho, saying, “Best goddamn writing anybody was doing, or has done. Nobody’s topped it.”

Another artist that one might expect to find on Crosby’s list is Joni Mitchell and her 1971 masterpiece Blue. Mitchell and Crosby dated in the 1960s and would be a pivotal factor in introducing Crosby to his future bandmates from Buffalo Springfield, Neil Young and Stephen Stills. The singer has even gone as far as to suggest Joni Mitchell is a far more impressive talent than Bob Dylan. Picking out her classic LP, Crosby notes: “Probably the best singer-songwriter record ever made.”

A similar vein continues as he picks James Taylor’s album Gorilla, on which Crosby featured, as well as Heavy Weather by jazz outfit Weather Report. Crosby goes so far as to say it is “It’s one of the best jazz albums that anybody ever made.” It rounds out a list of essential albums that would make perhaps the greatest Sunday afternoon soundtrack we could think of.

Below, we have the full selection of David Crosby’s favourite albums alongside a perfect playlist too.

David Crosby’s favourite albums of all time:

  • Aja – Steely Dan
  • Gaucho – Steely Dan
  • Blue – Joni Mitchell
  • Heavy Weather – Weather Report
  • Gorilla – James Taylor